Throwback Thursday — What Sense of Style?

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Maggie chose the topic of “sense of style.” I wasn’t going to respond to this prompt because I have no sense of style. But then I was having trouble falling asleep last night and decided to post myself to sleep. This is the result:

At what age did you become concerned about the clothes you wore? 

I’m in my seventies now and I’m hoping that by the time I reach my eighties I might start to give a shit about the clothes I wear. I must be presentable at my funeral, right? Oh wait. I’m going to be cremated. Never mind.

Did you get hand-me-downs or new clothes? 

Because I was a boy with two older sisters, there was nothing suitable to be handed down to me, so my answer is new clothes.

Were any of your clothes made by hand? If so, by whom? 

My mother was a prolific knitter, so literally all of my sweaters were hand-knitted by her.

Were you allowed to select your own clothes and assemble your own ensembles? 

I think I pretty much decided each day what to wear on my own once I was old enough to dress myself. it was pretty simple to pick out a shirt and a pair of pants to wear. I doubt, however, that anyone would refer to what I chose to wear as an ensemble.

At what age did you start buying your own wardrobe?

I’m assuming “buying” means paying for it on my own, and not just picking out my own clothes and having my parents pay for them. With that assumption, the answer is after I graduated from high school and headed to college.

What fashion fads did you adopt? 

I didn’t have much fashion sense (i.e., I didn’t really care all that much about what clothing I wore), so I pretty much embraced whatever fashion fads my friends had adopted.

Did you have certain colors you loved to wear? 

Not really. Back in my hippie days I liked to wear “loud” colored shirts (tie dyed, floral patterned, psychedelic patterned) and bell-bottomed jeans. I did go through a polyester leisure-suit phase, I’m now embarrassed to say. These days, I prefer more subdued colors. And since I’m retired, my wardrobe is primarily blue jeans and various muted colored t-shirts in the summer and blue, gray, or tan chambray shirts or patterned flannel shirts (mostly blues, grays, and tans with some subtle reds) in the cooler months.

Were you of the hippie generation or perhaps a child of the 1980s? What was the wildest or craziest outfit you ever wore?

I wasn’t a child of the 80s but I was of the hippie generation. As I mentioned above, back then I didn’t wear “outfits” per se, but I had some pretty wild shirts that I’d wear with my faded, torn bell bottoms. And again, there was that lime green leisure suit. Ack!

What about jewelry? Did you have piercings? Were they done by you or by others? What jewelry fads so you remember?

No piercings, no tattoos. Minimal jewelry. Basically just a watch and maybe a ring, like a school ring or a pinky ring. In my hippie days I had a few “masculine” necklaces that would occasionally don. Nowadays it’s my Apple Watch and my wedding band.

Now think about your hairstyles. What cuts did you sport? Did you ever color your hair? Did you try to alter your hair in any other way (cutting, ironing, shaving, curling)?

When I had hair on my head, which, other than my beard and mustache, I no longer have, I had crewcuts and flattops as a boy and grew my hair long toward the end of college as I transitioned from a straight-laced collegiate type to a hippie freak. I never colored my hair, which was brown, or did anything special with it. Now, I do shave my head every other week and trim my mustache and beard weekly.

How has your taste changed over the years?

Yes, of course. But the one constant has been that I have never had much of a sense of fashion.

The Soothing Sounds of a Crackling Fire

A word like “crepitate
And another such as “presbyopia
Are not easily weaved into a story.
What do the mean?
How can they be used without
Enmeshing the reader in a dictionary hunt?

Apart from the fact that the are rather esoteric,
They make a peddler of flash fiction tales,
As am I on this blog,
Jump through hoops.
But as my father used to say,
“Like roaring fire, make your words crepitate,
And don’t be blinded
By presbyopia of your imagination.”

Written for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (crepitate), My Vivid Blog (another), Word of the Day Challenge (presbyopia), Your Daily Word Prompt (enmesh), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (apart), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (peddler), and The Daily Spur (father).

Fibbing Friday — Beatlemania

Frank (aka PCGuy) and Di (aka Pensitivity101) alternate as hosts for Fibbing Friday, a silly little exercise where we are to write a post with our answers to the ten questions below. But as the title suggests, truth is not an option. The idea is to fib a little, a lot, tell whoppers, be inventive, silly, or even outrageous, in our responses. Today is Frank’s turn and he wants to know…

1. What was the actual name of the 1960’s rock group known as “The Fab Four”?

Paul and the Apostles.

2. What children’s TV show was narrated by both Ringo Starr and George Carlin?

The Fife and Drum Show.

3. What was the name of Sir Paul McCartney’s band after the Beatles?

The Exterminators.

4. What name did The Beatles go by before they became The Beatles?

The Volkswagens.

5. Who was “The Forgotten Beatle”?


6. How many Beatles movies are there?

One too many.

7. In relation to the other Beatles movies, what was unique about the movie, “Yellow Submarine”?

It was a non-musical drama about the men aboard a psychedelic German U-Boat in World War II. The men on that sub were known as the Blue Meanies.

8. What exactly is, “The Butcher Cover”?

It’s what Benny the Butcher used to wrap the body parts of his victims.

9. What are the flowers mentioned in the song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” made of?

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

10. Who is Billy Shears?

He’s the guy who trims and shapes my bushes.

Friday Fictioneers — Paint What You See

“Dennis,” the art teacher said, “you know that the purpose for bringing the class here to this scenic spot was for the students to paint photorealistic scenes of clouds over the water.”

“I know, Mrs. Briggs,” Dennis said.

“Then why have you painted cartoon animals, instead of clouds?” Mrs. Briggs asked sternly.

“You said that we should paint what we see,” Dennis said. “I see a walrus, an elephant standing on its hind legs, a mouse….”

“What is that?” Mrs. Briggs interrupted, pointing to a bright white cloud in the center of his canvas.

“That’s George Washington,” he said, beaming.

(100 words)

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers prompt. Photo credit: Bradley Harris.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 14th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 14th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on January 14, 2012 on my old blog.

Saab Story

As a former Saab owner, I was disappointed to learn that the Swedish automobile maker was forced to declare bankruptcy and to call it quits. While the Saab was never quite “mainstream,” it was, if nothing else, unique.

It’s hard to believe that it was just over 30 years ago when my wife and I purchased a 1981 Saab 900 Turbo. On paper the Saab was a great car. We were living in New Jersey at the time and needed a car that could maneuver us effectively through the winter snows and the hilly terrain of West Orange.

As the parents of two young children, we found the four door model to be roomy and comfortable for the whole family. And with its powerful turbocharged engine that kicked in at relative low RPMs, it was fast and handled spectacularly.

Despite all of these plusses, there were some serious minuses. We experienced a series of unexplained and nearly unfixable electrical system problems with the Saab. The car would periodically just stop running.

I recall one time having it towed to a nearby gas station. I asked the attendant if he could figure out how to get it going again. Yes, this was back in the day when gas stations, often referred to back then as “service stations,” actually had a mechanic available to work on cars. A gas station was more than just a convenience store that also happened to have a few gas pumps.

The attendant called over the on-duty mechanic, who popped the hood and gazed down at the turbocharged engine. After a few moments he scratched his head and uttered, in a manner that can only be described as a backwater West Virginia-like twang, “What the hell is that?”

“It’s turbocharged,” I replied, trying to sound as if I really knew what that meant.

The mechanic moved his hand to his chin and took on a contemplative look. Then he shook his head from side to side and shrugged his shoulders. “I wouldn’t know where to begin,” he said, clearly unschooled on turbocharged engines, which, I admit, were rarities back in the early 80s.

I learned, after that episode, to have the Saab towed directly to the nearest dealership in the event of future breakdowns. Unfortunately, Saab dealerships were as much of a rarity as were turbocharged engines.

Naturally, another such episode occurred not long after my encounter with the befuddled mechanic. But this time I was on one of my frequent out-of-town business trips. My wife had both of our young kids secured in their car seats and was driving them to or from somewhere when the Saab, once again, simply stopped.

Fortunately, the car was still under warranty and Saab provided roadside assistance service. A tow truck arrived, picked them all up, and drove the three of them, Saab in tow, to the dealership a few towns over from where we lived. It was sort of an adventure for my kids, but my wife was not a happy camper.

Although we loved almost everything about our Saab, it was, at the time, our only car. We needed something that wouldn’t periodically and unpredictably stop running. This last incident with my wife and kids was the final straw, and we made the difficult and sad decision to trade in the Saab for something a little less esoteric and a lot less finicky.

We opted for one of the most boring and ordinary cars on the road at the time, a 1984 Datsun Stanza, the forerunner to the Nissan Altima.

It wasn’t nearly as unique or interesting as the Saab, which has always been a rather quirky vehicle with a small but enthusiastic following. The Stanza lacked style. It was smaller, slower, and didn’t handle nearly as well as the Saab. But if nothing more than ordinary, it was reliable and it never just simply stopped.

Still, I was sorry to learn about Saab’s demise. Despite its obvious quirkiness and some reliability issues, it still holds a soft spot our motoring past. Finding out that Saab is no more was like hearing that a somewhat strange and a bit offbeat acquaintance from your youth, someone you haven’t spoken with or even thought about for years, had passed on.

It’s truly a sob story.